Impact Canopy

Fox Snares Main at Costa Mesa’s Harley Night

| 16 June 2015 12:54 pm

Costa Mesa Speedway
Harley Night: Orange County Fairgrounds

Story by Elaine Jones
Photos by Dorcey Wingo
COSTA MESA, CA, JUNE 13, 2015

It was a packed house at Costa Mesa Speedway last Saturday night, and it was because it was Harley Night, with “skinny bikes” in the house as well – and the cherry on top? The sidecars were also in attendance!

The crowd was in a festive mood, and the racing was red hot!

Aaron Fox was unbeatable on Harley Night at Costa Mesa Speedway!

Aaron Fox was unbeatable on Harley Night at Costa Mesa Speedway!

They came to see the Harley dudes put their high-dollar machines on the “Bullring” oval and, I think, they like to see them crash. More and more of them are finding old flat trackers and bringing them out. The crowd still wants to see the street bikes take on the tight turns and slippery dirt.

Some came to win, some came to ride.

Some came to win, some came to ride.

Here’s to guy to bet on – he’s fast!

Here’s the guy to bet on – he’s fast!

The Harley riders launch off the line in their main event.

The Harley riders launch off the line in their main event.

It was Harley Night, all right – gate after gate!

It was Harley Night, all right – gate after gate!

As for the Speedway racing, this would be three rounds of Scratch competition, with the top 10 advancing to two Scratch semifinals. First and second in each semi would make up the main.

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Round One
Gage Geist started things off with a very solid ride in the first heat race. He got the gate he was looking for and then held off Braydan Galvin, Rocco Scopellite and Russell Green for the first points of the night.

Aaron Fox showed the field he had come to play, as he exploded off the line in the second heat and held off strong challenges from the younger Ruml racer, Dillon. Dalton Leedy and Jason Ramirez followed them home.

Veteran racer Shawn “Mad Dog” McConnell proved he’s still always a contender. He read the gate, got to his low line and was content to have icon Bobby “Boogaloo” Schwartz lock in behind him. Michael Dalbey and Ricky Richards were third and fourth, respectively, in this one.

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The final heat of the opening round was full of all kinds of mayhem. Off the line, it was “Battlin’ Buck” Blair in front, with “Flyin’ Mike” Faria in second. Before one lap was in the books, River McDougall had done a soil-sample check in turn one, causing the red flag to come out.

Tyson Talkington (48), Buck Blair (39) and Mike Faria (9) shoot through turn one.

Tyson Talkington (48), Buck Blair (39) and Mike Faria (9) shoot through turn one.

They lined up again, and again it was Blair and Faria running one and two. On the third lap, McDougall did another soil check in turn three, but things got a bit messy when they weren’t able to get the bike off the track before the riders came around, even with help from promoter Brad Oxley. Thank goodness it was veteran riders who had to pass a test back in the day, as they knew how to lay a bike down. Blair slid in, and Faria had nowhere to go and he, too, laid it down. Unfortunately, Oxley got upended. He was pretty sure he was going to be hating life on Sunday.

With two laps in the books, the race was called; the win went to Blair, with Faria second. On back, it was Tyson Talkington and McDougall. McDougall was done for the night, as his bike couldn’t be repaired.

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Round Two
Blair came right back to open things up in the second round with another wire-to-wire go in the first heat. Ramirez found his groove and put in a solid ride for the second spot. Green was also settling in, and he was a solid third. Dalbey rounded out the field.

Talkington can always be counted on to get at least one winning ride a night, and the second heat of round two was all his. Scopellite was second, with Ruml and Richards third and fourth, respectively.

McConnell was in the groove and had no trouble going wire to wire in the next heat. It was Speedway 101. Geist’s hopes of a perfect score came to an end, but he was still in the hunt for a spot in the semis by virtue of his second-place finish. Leedy was third.

Fox again put in a solid ride to take the win in the final heat of the round. Faria was second, with Galvin third and Schwartz fourth.

Two rounds in and one to go. There were still three riders who were perfect on the night: McConnell, Blair and Fox. One point back was Geist.

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Round Three
Green appeared to have it all together, as he cut the best gate and took the lead in the opening heat of the third round. The fickle finger of fate stepped in on the white-flag lap when he zigged when he should have zagged and went from first to last in a heartbeat. Geist was right there, and he was more than happy to assume the lead and take it to the checkered flag. Richards was second. Green was able to get by Schwartz for the third spot.

In the next heat, Fox rained on Blair’s perfect night, as he went wire to wire. Blair still came away with the second spot. Ruml was third. Obviously, Fox and Blair were headed to the Scratch semi.

McConnell was on roll, as he finished out his qualifying races with a perfect score by winning the third heat of the final round. Scopellite, Galvin and Dalbey followed him home.

Faria finally got the ride he needed and closed out the Scratch racing with a win, ensuring himself a berth in the semis. Ramirez, Talkington and Leedy would have to see how the math turned out.

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Scratch Semis
The first Scratch semi saw Fox get out on top, but his lead was short-lived, as Blair found the hole he was looking for and had the lead as they came around on the first lap. Fox was content to settle into second, as he knew they would meet again in the main. The night was over for Talkington and Scopellite.

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The second semi was all Ramirez’s. He was coming on stronger and stronger as the night progressed. McConnell was content to follow him home, as he, like Fox, was saving it for the main. Unfortunately, Faria and Geist were on their way back to the trailers.

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Scratch Main Event
They rolled to the line for the main. The draw had Blair on the pole, with McConnell in two. Fox loaded into three, and Ramirez was against the wall in four.

The top four riders of the night – (from left to right) Jason Ramirez, Aaron Fox, Shawn McConnell and Buck Blair – launch off the line in the Scratch main.

The top four riders of the night – (from left to right) Jason Ramirez, Aaron Fox, Shawn McConnell and Buck Blair – launch off the line in the Scratch main.

They loaded in and got on the gas. The light went green, the tapes went up, and it was Fox launching off the line to take the lead! Blair dogged him the whole way, but Fox was not to be denied, and he took the checkered flag in the quick four-lapper. Blair was a solid second, with McConnell and Ramirez rounding out the field.

Buck Blair (39) beat Shawn McConnell to the line for the runner-up spot. McConnell was third.

Buck Blair (39) beat Shawn McConnell to the line for the runner-up spot. McConnell was third.

Jason Ramirez (66) took fourth in the Scratch main.

Jason Ramirez (66) took fourth in the Scratch main.

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Sidecars
What would Harley Night be without Sidecars? These guys just bring it, and the fans love them! What’s cool is the fact that they are growing in numbers: Twelve teams were on hand on Saturday night, which is just awesome!

And then, just in case you were getting bored, there were the Sidecars!

And then, just in case you were getting bored, there were the Sidecars!

“The Beast” was there, flying through turn one.

“The Beast” was there, flying through turn one.

The Sidecar consi saw the team of Stuart Glass & Jack Straw, coming from the pole, take the lead, and they never lost sight of the prize, as they went wire to wire. Jeff Medberry & Niki Davis were off second but got passed by James Kinne & David Salke on the white-flag lap. They would finish in that order, with Dan Rapoport & Jacob Serrato in fourth.

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The Sidecar main event turned out to be a barn-burner! Joe Jones & Tom Summers were on the pole, with Dual Anderson & Vinny Madagan in two, Gerard Jackson & Dave German in three, and Bryan Motis & Josh Bennett in four. Nitrous was sprayed on the fans by Jones & Summers, which is their trademark, as they loaded in.

The Sidecar main event gets under way.

The Sidecar main event gets under way.

The tapes came up, and it was Jones & Summers out on top. Motis & Bennett were running second, and the war was on!

Jones & Summers’ machine was smoking badly as they took the white flag, and they started slowing down. That was all Motis & Bennett needed, as they took the lead. Jones & Summers pretty much said ‘what the heck’ and opened the bike up, and they were able to take the second spot. Anderson & Madagan were third, with Jackson & German fourth.

Bryan Motis & Josh Bennett (2): the Stars and Stripes in motion!

Bryan Motis & Josh Bennett (2): the Stars and Stripes in motion!

To say the motor was “gone” on the Jones & Summers bike would be an understatement. The picked up a rod on the back straightaway.

Joe Jones & Tom Summers (7) threw a rod, allowing Bryan Motis & Josh Bennett (2) to take the win.

Joe Jones & Tom Summers (7) threw a rod, allowing Bryan Motis & Josh Bennett (2) to take the win.

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Support Classes
The Support riders also ran a Scratch format, with the top five in points going to the main. John Stunkard Wilder put in a very nice ride to top Eloy Medellin, Rudy Laurer, Joe Donaldson and Harold Hartke.

The Support main-event field shoots off the line.

The Support main-event field shoots off the line.

John Wilder (249, foreground) won the Support main.

John Wilder (249, foreground) won the Support main.

Support B honors went to Tom Bryant, as he went wire to wire. Following him home were Robert “Sarge” Fiesler, Wade Whitcomb and Monte McKeon.

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This was a crazy night full of fun, great racing, and some weird happenings. There’s never a dull moment at Speedway, so it goes without saying that you need to make plans now to be at Costa Mesa on Saturday night to see what’s going to happen next…

Costa Mesa Speedway at the Orange County Fairgrounds
Costa Mesa, California
Results: June 13, 2015

SCRATCH MAIN: 1. Aaron Fox (Jaw); 2. Buck Blair (Jaw); 3. Shawn McConnell (GM); 4. Jason Ramirez (Jaw).

SIDECAR CONSI: 1. Stuart Glass/ Jack Straw (Duc); 2. James Kinne/ David Salke (Yam); 3. Jeff Medberry/ Niki Davis (Hon); 4. Dan Rapoport/ Jacob Serrato (Suz).

SIDECAR MAIN: 1. Bryan Motis/ Josh Bennett (Yam); 2. Joe Jones/ Tom Summers (Suz); 3. Dual Anderson/ Vinny Madagan (Kaw); 4. Gerald Jackson/ Dave German (Yam).

SUPPORT MAIN: 1. John Stunkard Wilder (Jaw); 2. Eloy Medellin (Jaw); 3. Rudy Laurer (Jaw); 4. Harold Hartke (Jaw).

SUPPORT B MAIN: 1. Tom Bryant (Jaw); 2. Robert Fiesler (Jaw); 3. Wade Whitcomb (Jaw); 4. Monte McKeon (Jaw).

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